How Sourav Ganguly shaped the careers of Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni

first_imgFormer India captain Sourav Ganguly is the reason behind shaping the careers of both Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni. Ganguly believed in giving chances to youngsters and he even gave up his batting position at times to fit in a player.Ganguly revealed how he identified Sehwag’s potential as an opening batsman. Sehwag before coming to the Indian team in 2001 used to play in the middle order for his Delhi Ranji side.But it was Ganguly who promoted Sehwag to open the innings in both Tests and ODIs and the rest is history. Sehwag was the first Indian to smash a triple century in Test cricket and not once but twice.Speaking on Breakfast With Champions, Ganguly revealed the entire story of how he once insisted on getting Sehwag picked in the team for an away tour.”Like when Viru opened. During selection, people asked why are you taking for an away tour. He won’t manage bouncers. They’ll hit him in the head with bouncers.”And I replied: ‘You are judging him without even seeing him play or giving him an opportunity’. Then he ended up scoring a century on his debut in South Africa. After that, we did not have a position for him in the middle order, so one day I told him…Viru, no one made a career by sitting on the bench. Why don’t you open? And opening is not a skill anyone is born with. If [Matthew] Hayden and [Justin] Langer could do it, so can you..advertisement”Viru told me he had never opened and batted only at 5 or 6 for Delhi. ‘What if I get out?’ I told him you can get out even in the middle order. And I batted down the order so that I could have him in my team. And then he opened in England and scored a century…”He is a little mad and keeps telling me you never played me in the middle order. I told him ‘you would not have been half the player with that kind of impact and match-winning ability…that would not have come by playing in the middle order,” Ganguly said.Dhoni made his ODI debut in 2004 under Ganguly’s captaincy. Even in the Dhoni’s bipoic — MS Dhoni: The Untold Story — there is a mention how Ganguly backed Dhoni and the wicketkeeper-batsman was included in the Indian team.After a few poor performances, Dhoni was promoted to bat at No.3 and he proved his worth with a thunderous 148 against Pakistan and then a few months later blasted his way to 183 against Sri Lanka.”When Dhoni came into the side in 2004, he played at No.7 in the first two matches. We went to Vizag (vs Pakistan) I was watching the news and wondering how could make a player out of Dhoni. He had great potential.”The next day in the morning, we did our warm-ups, did the toss, won it and decided to bat. While coming back I decided I will send him up the order.. We’ll see what the result is.. He was sitting in shorts because he knew he would bat at No.7. I told him to go up at No.3 and he asked ‘what about you?’ I said ‘I will bat at No.4’. And he went and scored 148.”That is how you players are made,” Ganguly said. Ganguly also said that seeing Dhoni play for so long makes him feel happy because both of them are from a part of India where not much cricket was played those days.”Dhoni is very courageous. I feel happy seeing MS because when we started playing cricket there was no cricketer from the east. No players used to play and used to think there won’t be a player this side. And we both captained so many matches, we played so many matches…T20 wasn’t there in our time..I played approximately 450 matches. That day in Cardiff MS played his 500th. I feel good because a part of India where not many cricketers came from, 2 captains came from that side. Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni that’s the proud moment,” he said.Ganguly has also said that he has a lot of hopes from Virat Kohli as India look to win their first Test series in England since 2007.”When Virat Kohli plays, wherever you are you will come and watch that because he is playing. That is his impact. When you look at him, you will get to know that this man has a mission of making his team the best,” Ganguly said.advertisement”There is fitness and yo-yo test. People criticize it but there is a reason behind these tests. You have to be mentally tough. Now cricket is fitness oriented and sports has changed over the years. I have lot of hopes from Virat Kohli and nation believes in him,” he added.India begin their five-match Test series against England at Edgbaston from August 1.last_img read more